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Trouble in Galapagos 'paradise' for Ecuador locals

•, By Stephan Kuffner
 Surging growth in tourism and local population during the boom times led to serious fears about whether their unique ecosystems could survive the pressure.
Now, awareness of these twin threats appears to have spurred the government into faster action.

On 1 June, President Rafael Correa warned that the islands faced "multiple problems" from "disorder, a lot of abuse, a lot of anarchy, lack of policies".

In a break with tradition, he named an outsider, Maria Isabel Salvador, who was Ecuador's ambassador to the Organization of American States, to run the archipelago.

"The message was very clear, the government is preparing to make some unpopular decisions," says Reyna Oleas, an ecologist in Puerto Ayora, the islands' biggest town.

Already, some fuel subsidies have been cut and the permitted number of cars capped because of the 13,000 birds they run over each year.

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